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is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian Restorationist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members, although the vast majority of these—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).Small denominations that trace their origins to Rigdon, James Strang, or other associates of Smith's still exist, and several fundamentalist sects which separated from the Utah LDS Church after it rejected plural marriage in 1890 claim tens of thousands of members.Historically, the different denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement have been hostile towards or dismissive of one another; this is largely because each group claims to be the sole legitimate continuation of the one true church established by Smith in 1830.In 1831, Smith, moved the church headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, and in 1838 changed its name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints".After the church in Ohio collapsed due to a financial crisis and dissensions, in 1838, Smith and the body of the church moved to Missouri where they were persecuted (see Hauns Mill Massacre) and finally forced to Illinois.
A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church.
Emma Hale Smith failed to persuade William Marks, the president of the Presiding High Council and a Rigdon supporter, to assume leadership and the surviving members of Smith's immediate family remained unaffiliated with any larger body until 1860, when they formed the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with Joseph's eldest son as prophet.
These various groups are sometimes referred to under two geographical headings: "Prairie Saints" (those that remained in the Midwest United States); and "Rocky Mountain Saints" (those who followed Young to what would later become the state of Utah).
The city council of Nauvoo, Illinois, led by Smith, subsequently had the printing press of the Expositor destroyed.
In spite of Smith's later offer to pay damages for destroyed property, critics of Smith and the church considered the destruction heavy-handed.
Throughout his life, Smith told of an experience he had as a boy having seen God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings, who told him that the true church of Jesus Christ had been lost and would be restored through him, and that he would be given the authority to organize and lead the true Church of Christ.